Obviously, there’s no evidence that Erik ten Hag ‘disagree’ on anything with Manchester United, but here we are. Moreover, Brendan Rodgers is beyond reproach at Leicester.
Can we all agree to “disagree”?
Pretending something is happening is part of the fun of the international break. But that shouldn’t include just cheerfully creating quotes to sell a LIVE blog that really should be retired for a week.
‘Arnold’ disagrees ‘with Ten Hag on transfer policy’ is quite the opening on the Manchester Evening News.
Those little commas in the air around the word ‘disagreement’ (here they come again) are what are commonly called quotation marks. This means that someone must have said or written the word “disagree”.
Here is their update in full:
“United are already planning for the next transfer window, but are said to be divided over their policy in this regard.
“The Athletic says Erik ten Hag wants to make more signings in January, but chief executive Richard Arnold wants to wait until the summer.”
Obviously, we then click on Athleticism. And then obviously no one says or writes the word ‘disagree’.
And the band played MEN, which has our click and many others based on them happily quoting no one at all.
Can we all agree to “disagree” again?
In fact, a little deeper investigation shows us exactly who the MEN quoted with their assertion that Ten Hag and his bosses “disagree”. Here is Monday’s headline from the Mirror site:
‘Erik ten Hag and three main Man Utd chiefs disagree on transfer plans’
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the circle of modern journalism. A website rewrites an Athletic story, uses a certain emotive word in the title, and then its sister website manages to stick that emotive word in quotes. On one level, it’s genius; to another it’s despicable, but you say tom-a-to, I saw tomato and all that.
The Mirror you’re not done with this story on Tuesday:
‘Erik ten Hag may come up against his own Ed Woodward script at Manchester United’
Because it’s a perfectly normal response to news that Erik ten Hag may not be granted his wish to add to his squad in January after Manchester United spent too much this summer.
No news like old news
While we’re about to claim there’s a flood of Manchester United transfer news, this is the most important story on the express website Tuesday morning:
‘Man Utd received transfer response from Cody Gakpo but had to prioritize another star’
They then reveal breathlessly that “Manchester United reached a verbal agreement with the agents of PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo in the summer before pulling out of the deal to complete a move for Antony, according to reports”.
We know. Because The Athletic literally told us six days ago.
This is a way to get through the international truce.
For the love of Fox
“Why Leicester sacking Brendan Rodgers would be a HUGE blow to the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ aspirants” is a Sun title that certainly caught the attention of Mediawatch. On the surface level this seems like absolute bullshit as Leicester sacking Brendan Rodgers would really just be a HUGE blow to Brendan Rodgers.
Dave Kidd writes that “if, as seems likely, Saturday’s 6-2 thrashing at Tottenham turns out to be Rodgers’ last game in charge of the Foxes, it should sadden anyone who wants to see the ‘Big Six’ of the Premier League. League seriously challenged”.
Well, we’d love to see the Premier League’s Big Six seriously challenged and yet we wouldn’t be saddened by the sacking of a manager whose team is currently bottom of the Premier League. The two things seem totally unrelated.
“Because it will say a lot about the glass ceiling of the league, about the finite nature of realistic ambition, and it will also expose the limits of English boasting of having the most competitive league in the world.”
Or it could just say a lot about how Rodgers has utterly failed to organize this Leicester side through 2022, as they conceded 48 goals in 27 games. For context, Crystal Palace have conceded 28. Sometimes the sacking of a failing manager is just the sacking of a failing manager.
“With back-to-back fifth-place finishes and an FA Cup triumph in 2021, Rodgers has been the most successful manager at a non-elite club for a generation.”
Does he have it though? Most definitions put “a generation” between 20 and 30, so let’s be nice and just look at this century. And it would be a century in which David Moyes led Everton to five top-six finishes. We’d say he was ‘the most successful manager at a non-elite club for a generation’. But that doesn’t match the story.
“Of course, there was Leicester’s ridiculous title win under Claudio Ranieri in 2016 – a feat that seems even crazier in hindsight.
“No other team outside the ‘Big Six’ has even finished in the top four since Everton in 2005 – and that was before Manchester City got rich and there was even a ‘Big Six’. ”
And when do you think this Big Six emerged? There was certainly no talk of a Big Six when Tottenham finished in the top four in 2009/10 for the first time in 20 years. There had been a Big Four, then City had crashed out with money and Spurs fought their way through with money, training and recruitment.
Indeed, you could argue that Harry Redknapp was “the most successful manager at a non-elite club for a generation”. How does a Big Four become a Big Six without anyone challenging the elite?
Dave Kidd will then dismiss the idea that Leicester are poor this season partly because they’ve sold key players, writing that “the wider problem is that when a club bangs its head against that glass ceiling for a some time, without reaching the major breakthrough in Champions League football, everyone starts to get frustrated, bored and restless”.
We’re not sure we’re “frustrated”. bored and restless’, which is why winning a corner against Leicester is like winning a penalty.
Or why they field a goalkeeper who has been comfortably the worst in the division.
And we would certainly say that having practically zero net transfer spend in two seasons is sub-optimal.
Kidd writes that ‘oonce you stop going up you inevitably start sinking down” and cites West Ham and Wolves as examples, but you don’t have to “stop going up”; Tottenham proved it.
Brendan Rodgers was in charge of a Leicester side who have won just one of their last five games of 2019/20 to give up the Champions League places.
Brendan Rodgers was then in charge of a Leicester side who have won just one of their last five games of 2020/21 to give up the Champions League places.
Sometimes the problem is the manager. And more often than not, the problem is a combination of the manager and a lack of investment. Blaming the “glass ceiling” is a rotten excuse when the ceiling was shattered just over a decade ago.
. Manchester United Erik ten Hag are not okay so we cry all sacking the faultless Brendan